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After a lot of huffing and puffing EPRDF’s (Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front) government has finally managed to fire its first salvo against the protracted big time corruption (grand/political) the country has ever witnessed in its modern history! The dark cloud of corruption, facilitated by the dark side of empowerment-abuse, (abuse of power, abuse of resource, abuse of justice, etc.,) which has been hanging over the citizenry, (law abiding ones) finally seems to be moving towards its natural direction, to perdition! Whether this oppressive cloud will finally disperse and clear away from the Ethiopian sky is something that remains to be seen, since the whole initiative still depends on the commitment/political will of the ruling party, rhetoric aside!
To be sure, humanity’s perception of the modern world system has also changed in the last three years and it would be suicidal for political parties (everywhere) to ignore the earth-shaking rampage of the beast (human mass), which is still going on all over the planet. From Tunis to Thessaloniki, from Tripoli to Torino, from Cairo to Catalonia from Bangladesh to Belgium, from Detroit to Dusseldorf, from Mumbai to Manila, etc., the ground under the beast’s hoof is trembling. The movement of the beast, always scary, has become unrelenting, just ask the Egyptians. Only idiots can comfortably ignore such visible and universal upheavals. EPRDF, though it has its share of embarrassing dimwits, has correctly deciphered the destabilizing problem of our time; non-democratic & corrupt practices all over! That is why its leaders regularly repeat; ‘fighting corruption is a matter of survival!’ Accordingly, it has managed to devise measures to help address the prevailing grand corruption. That it started the anti corruption campaign at its helm is encouraging. By acknowledging the mess the party/front is in, (mostly due to the activities of its corrupt senior officials), it has moved closer to people’s interest and by implication away from ‘rent seekers’, which were created, again for the most part, by the Front itself, maybe inadvertently!
Be that as it may, the anti-corruption campaign that is now in the offing is long overdue. Because of the delay, a lot of damage has been inflicted on this poor country and its generally law abiding citizens. The cliché ‘better late than never’ might not do justice to the injustice suffered under the leadership of the political goons and their imbecile accomplices! Most importantly, the damage suffered by Ethiopia’s bureaucracy, an otherwise decent entity (relatively speaking) is incalculable. Had there been public initiatives to thwart off widespread degeneration, the abuse wouldn’t have reached such frightening proportion. Obviously potent initiatives were systematically and intentionally ignored by those who were bent on benefitting from grand corruption.
From now on, incompetents and psychopaths should not be allowed to become public leaders; not only in the realm of politics but also within and outside of the market. There must be mandatory screening of office holders in this regard. Just because someone is garbed with the best of suits doesn’t mean the fellow is physically/mentally intact. By the same token, anyone with paper credentials must prove his/her merit in the arena of practical life. One of the reasons the world is saddled with protracted/intractable problems (some of geological proportion) is because, amongst other things, clinically diagnosed psychopaths & sociopaths, (whose ambitions don’t go beyond narrow self interests) tend to occupy positions of immense responsibilities. ‘Misery loves company’ might be true but incompetence & psychopathy cannot survive without it. That is why we have shady characters from all walks of life operating in cahoots with top government/party officials, as if they were hands in gloves!
We believe, it is when people are allowed to confront officials about their abusive practices, directly and on the spot, progress against grand corruption can be made. People must take initiatives in challenging the behavior of officials, not only in the courts of law (which are easily improvised and compromised, particularly in authoritarian & corruption prone societies), but also, in the courts of public arena. For instance, Ethiopia’s once kosher judiciary is now in tatters and just a ghost of its former self. Given the kind of mess it finds itself in, it is probably better and easier to completely scrap it off and start the whole thing afresh, of course after severely punishing the crooks that destroyed it from within. Their ill gotten wealth must also be confiscated, mercilessly! Maybe it is time to entertain; 1) a modified jury system of a sort; 2) direct election of judges (by the people); 3) doing away with the privilege of immunity! See the articles next column & on page 50/51. Put together the above might prevent the complete degeneration/corruption of the judiciary as an institution or even society at large. We believe it is pertinent to follow-up on such matters, particularly as society increasingly embraces the logic/ideology of the market place, which interprets manipulation as marketing, embezzlement as creative accounting, money launderers as big time investors, cronyism as capitalism, etc., etc.
The corrupt think they always know better and as far as they are concerned, the beast is just that, a useless animal on two, to be used and abused at will. This is how the old economist described it: “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850).Good Day!